Obesity in children

These days even on a sunny afternoon, a perfect day to spend outdoors, chances are you will not see many children playing outside. Mostly you’ll see these children in front of the television or the computer, playing video games or just watching. And with this fast becoming common practice it will be noted that there is minimal physical activity for these children means a more sedentary lifestyle leading to overweight and obese children. Obesity can be described as an excess in body fats.

Obesity can be construed as such when the total body weight is 25 percent fat in boys and 32 percent in girls (Lohman, 1987). Although childhood obesity is more aptly described as a weight-for-height in intemperance of 120 percent of the ideal body weight in consideration for age and sex of child, It can be derived that the more precise determinant of fat is the skinfold measures (Dietz, 1983; Lohman, 1987). Overweight or obese children are now predominantly prone to illnesses like type-2 diabetes, a disease usually associated with adults.

And overweight children who are not controlled early tend to become overweight adults as well giving them an increased risk for other diseases like heart failure, hypertension and stroke. Even more so is the social impact an obese child faces outside or sometimes even inside the home. Obese children are usually teased and ridiculed and these children tend to develop depression or a low self confidence. It is also of note that children who are obese tend to be more on the lower end of the academic spectrum It is important to monitor children’s growth.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated from the child’s height and weight and becomes a reliable indicator for the fat present in the body of children and teens. Although BMI does not necessarily measure fat directly, it is shown that BMI is directly related to measures of body fat and is thus considered a good alternative for measuring fat (CDC, 2007), although skinfold measures are also a choice measurement protocols for measuring body fat. And one may note that in children and teens, BMI is specified for age and sex and is often called BMI-for-age.

An example of a BMI chart for children is noted below, The BMI chart notes a 10-year-old boy’s BMI is 18, placing him at the 75th percentile. This means that compared to other kids his age, 75 percent have a lower BMI than him. (Dr. Paul, n. d. ) In obtaining BMI in children, CDC (2007) instructs that an accurate weight and height is obtained from the subject and using the metric system, the formula used in calculating BMI is weight (Kg) divided by height (meters2). The formula is shown as follows: BMI = weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

An alternative method can be used if weight and height is taken in pounds and inches, calculate BMI by dividing weight (lb) and height (in2) and multiply by 703. This formula is shown as follows: BMI = weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703 To determine obesity the BMI score of the subject is compared to the standard table used and the percentile is taken (CDC, 2007) The BMI-for-age percentile is utilized to interpret the BMI score and one should note that BMI for the younger group is age and sex specific, this is so because amount of fat fluctuate in children and the amount of fat is also dissimilar with boys compared to girls.

Obtaining the percentile is the most common indicator in assessment of the size and growth structure of the child, this percentile will be used to note the position of the BMI obtained among same age and peer groups. The weight status of the child is then determined and CDC (2007) categorized percentile ratings as follows: ? Underweight, percentile rating is less that 5th of the percentile ? Normal, percentile rating is from the 5th percentile to less than 85th of the percentile rating. ? Overweight, ranges from 85th percentile to less than 95th percentile rating

Obese rating will mean a rating of 95th or greater percentile. A table of Body Index Score is provided below: According to the NHLBI website one should also note that children who are overweight, obese or extremely obese have increased risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disorders, with the risks rated as children who are overweight and carries a body index of 25-29. 9 score have increased risk for such diseases, while obese children who has a 30 – 39. 9 classed as class I and II obesity BMI have a higher risk to develop the diseases mentioned.

And the extremely obese children who scores 40 and above BMI are exceedingly at risk for development of the diseases usually associated only with the older population. A table of which is provided below: Results from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), by means of measured heights and weights, designated that a projected 16 percent of children and adolescents with ages 6 to 19 years of age are obese. As it might be noted in Figure 1, this statistics represents a 45 percent mark up from the overweight estimates of 11 percent obtained from NHANES III (1988-94) not over ten years passed.

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